SIDNEY — Judy Wells, executive director of the Shelby Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA), was the guest speaker for the Jan. 24 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Sidney.
SMHA was created in 1977 to administer public housing and the Section 8 housing program for Shelby County, she said. Frank Neville was the first director. SMHA is a political subdivision of the state of Ohio and is regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The organization is governed by a five-member board of commissioners appointed by various, local, elected officials within Sidney and Shelby County.
The mission of SMHA is to serve low-income families by providing quality housing opportunities and promoting economic self-sufficiency. Its vision is to continue to creatively seek ways to expand the availability of affordable housing throughout Shelby County by advocating on behalf of low-income, elderly, handicapped and disabled families.
SMHA is the public housing authority for Shelby County. By working with collaborative partners, it develops, renovates and maintains housing, promotes neighborhood revitalization and assists residents in accessing needed social services.
SMHA has housing opportunities for qualified families, singles and seniors. Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible families, the elderly and persons with disabilities throughout Shelby County. There are around 200 public housing units and another 200 Section 8 units. With Section 8 housing, people can find their own places to live and receive assistance with the cost of rent.
Each year, SMHA is funded through the federal budget, receiving more than $1.1 million to operate its programs. Public housing is limited to income-qualified families and individuals. Factors determining eligibility are gross income, whether people qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family with U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
Current public housing properties include Hewitt Villa, Hilltop, Mount Vernon, Jackson Towers and Shelby Manor. They have one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units.
Wells pointed out that a new no-smoking rule in public housing is being instituted in July 2018. This directive comes from the federal government.